Clinton Condemns Criminalization of Homosexuality
December 1st, 2009
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke out yesterday against attempts abroad to criminalize homosexuality. Without mentioning Uganda specifically, Secretary Clinton said:
Obviously, our efforts are hampered whenever discrimination or marginalization of certain populations results in less effective outreach and treatment. So we will work not only to ensure access for all who need it, but also to combat discrimination more broadly. We have to stand against any efforts to marginalize and criminalize and penalize members of the LGBT community worldwide. It is an unacceptable step backwards — (applause) — on behalf of human rights. But it is also a step that undermines the effectiveness of efforts to fight the disease worldwide.
Eric Goosby, chief coordinator for the President’s emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), came under fire last week when he announced that funding for Uganda would not be linked to their actions on the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act, which would impose the death penalty on LGBT people under certain circumstances. Altogether, Uganda is set to received $250 million in developmental assistance to promote health, agriculture, and business investments. Secretary Clinton’s address does not contradict that stance, but Kerry Eleveld reports that vigorous engagement with Uganda is taking place behind the scenes. Eleveld writes:
The source said the diplomatic goal was to strike a forceful tone that stopped short of shaming President Museveni, who has yet to take an official stand on the legislation, which was introduced by a lawmaker in his own party, member of parliament David Bahati.
“They are trying to proceed in a way that gives them some private leverage but also acknowledges that Secretary Clinton has an obligation to speak out on human rights issues in her capacity as our top international diplomat,” said the source. “It’s been a delicate effort with inconclusive results.”
PEPFAR Coordinator: Don’t Link Uganda Funding To Anti-Homosexuality Act
November 27th, 2009
Newsweek’s Katie Paul spoke to Eric Goosby, chief coordinator for the President’s emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) about Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act instituting the death penalty against gays under certain circumstances. The bill would also outlaw all advocacy and outreach toward and on behalf of the LGBT community, making HIV/AIDS prevention work impossible. Linking to some of BTB’s reporting, Paul asks Goosby about the administrations plans for PEPFAR in Uganda should the legislation go forward:
I’m very concerned about any decision that any country—including our own—would make to target a group that’s in the population, and that’s always been in the population, by excluding them from a service or passes legislation that criminalizes their behavior. Every time you do that, you push the behavior underground. It never works. Rather than minimizing the spread of the virus, it actually amplifies it.
The U.S. policy is trying to work with governments to say exactly that. I think I would do more harm than good by connecting our resources to respond to the epidemic to making them dependent on a behavior that they’re not willing to engage in on their own. My role is to be supportive and helpful to the patients who need these services. It is not to tell a country how to put forward their legislation. But I will engage them in conversation around my concern and knowledge of what this is going to do to that population, and our ability to stop the movement of the virus into the general population.